Summer is a good season to eat outside. My favorite way to cook is on an outdoor grill or fire pit which is with charcoal or real firewood. The wood fire smoke aromas and flavor can’t be beat! Cooking with coal may be a bit messy and time consuming than using grill, but it is definitely worth it.
And besides, it is fun! Why not gather your families and friends for barbecue? The caramel meat, toasted marshmallow, roasted vegetables—-I can’t wait when I just image the taste. But there is a problem which always drives me crazy. How to make enough burning charcoal and cost less time? Once one of my friends recommend a charcoal chimney starter to me since it can satisfy all my demands. So I just bought one in the hardware near to my house. And guess what? I couldn’t barbecue without it. Definitely, using the charcoal chimney starter is the best way to light the coals. These are the best accessory.
The beauty of outdoor cooking is going back to basics, using simple tools and your own sensual awareness of the process to make delicious food. Whether it’s the feel of heat from the charcoal, the sweet smell of fire-roasted onions, or the sound of a sizzling steak over flame, all of your senses plays a role in success with fire. But nothing ruins a barbecue faster than biting down into a juicy steak or burger and finding out it tastes like fuel! Be caution about the charcoal we use!
You may get confused for what I am talking to. So let me introduce you the greatest product for barbecue —- chimney starter.
What is a chimney starter?
Chimney starter is a device which is basically a long metal cylinder with air vents and a large insulated handle as shown above. And it is used to ignite either lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes. Inside, it has a “ shelf ” of metal which can hold your charcoal as seen below.
The briquettes go in top and some type of tinder or kindling is placed in the bottom and ignited. Then the fire rises through the grate and ignites the charcoal. The confined space of the metal container intensifies and retains the heat and gets the lower charcoal ignited quickly. The retained heat then makes its way up, and quickly igniting all the charcoal in the chimney from bottom to top.
Where can you get a charcoal chimney?
A charcoal chimney starter can be found at any specialty grill and barbecue shops. But nowadays, we can find them almost at anywhere. You can even buy charcoal and barbecue equipment at hardware and home supply stores and even some supermarkets. Yes. You can find it in the shelves where fill of grilling products when you in a supermarket. Alternatively, you can buy one from website, such as amazon.com. Since it is more convenient and websites will have more different brands we can compare and choose.
Different types of charcoal chimneys
There are many brands which make this type of charcoal chimney starter. They all have the same basic configuration. But in some aspects, each brand has their own design. As for me, the most noticeable difference is that some are larger than others. I particularly prefer to use the Weber charcoal chimney starter since it is one of the bigger models on the market. This kind is handy because if you use a larger grill, you can ignite all the charcoal you need just with one load. You can always put few charcoals in it if you need less.
For very large grills you may need more than one chimney so that you can start all your charcoal at once. Also you can start one chimney full and then add additional briquettes on top after you’ve poured out the burning coals. There is also another significant difference that different models of charcoal chimney starter perform differently. The handles vary but I have not found one to be that much more comfortable than the Weber. And the Weber model has an additional pivoting metal handle to help tip the chimney easier to dump the charcoal.
Pros and Cons of using a chimney charcoal starter
Pros: 1. It is easier to use and faster than other types of charcoal starter.
- t is reusable, inexpensive and can last for a long time.
- It is safer than other types and more health for it does not require flammable lighter fluid or other chemicals.
Cons: 1. very rarely charcoal can not ignite with the first try
- it requires the addition of kindling.
- it needs to put somewhere safe for it is still hot after using
How to use it?
- Fill the top portion of your chimney with charcoal briquettes. Don’t over fill. Then Crumple up two or three pieces of newspaper or use other kindling and put them in the bottom part of the chimney from below. Avoid packing it too tightly. This may restrict the air and cause the kindling won’t ignite properly.
- Set the chimney on your charcoal grate in your grill. Ignite the newspaper until it is burning completely. This can be done by introducing a long match through the openings on the bottom of the charcoal chimney or tilting the chimney to ignite from the bottom.
- Sit and wait. The waiting time is depending on your charcoal and the size of your chimney. Maybe 5 to 15 minutes. You will see smoke start to come out the chimney and then you will hear crackling as your charcoal starts burning. If you suspect the fire went out prematurely or there is no more smoke and no sound, you can introduce and ignite another piece or two of newspaper.
- When you see small flames flickering at the top of the chimney and glowing coals beneath. Do not stand still for a large fire will start spewing out the top of your chimney. And you may waste your charcoal. Once you see the embers and the bit of flames flickering near to the top, carefully dump the charcoal onto your charcoal grate. Be caution and don’t get burned.
- If your grill requires more briquettes, just add more on top of the pile of ignited coals and wait for them to ignite as well.
- Add the charcoal to your grill grate and you are ready to start barbecue!
The chimney will get hot and you should be careful with your hands and wear a leather glove. Also don’t forget put that Chimney Starter somewhere safe once you’ve poured the charcoals into the grill, and if you don’t want pets or guests to bump into it while it’s still hot, remember to be careful and put it somewhere safe.
Once the preparation has been done, just start barbecue and enjoy time happy time with families and friends! Hope my words can help you a lot. And don’t put real wood in the starter. Some people may worry about the newspaper we use as a kind of kindling for the ink. So why not try Fire Starter cubes as kindling. These tiny things will work great, non-toxic, cheaper and even work in the rain!